Changes to Nutrition Facts Label May Be Forthcoming

Articles
January 05, 2012

Changes to Nutrition Facts Label May Be Forthcoming

The Food and Drug Administration recently published a notice in the Federal Register concerning its submission to the Office of Management and Budget of a proposal for an online consumer survey that heralds potential changes in the information that may be required to be declared in Nutrition Facts – part of every food label, reports The Food Institute

The Food and Drug Administration recently published a notice in the Federal Register concerning its submission to the Office of Management and Budget of a proposal for an online consumer survey that heralds potential changes in the information that may be required to be declared in Nutrition Facts – part of every food label, reports The Food Institute

The consumer survey will incorporate study of potential revisions to the information presented in the Nutrition Facts, including some major ones notes the Food Institute.

Importantly, because added sugars have been linked to obesity, a significant public health problem in the U.S., the consumer survey will also study how declaring the added sugars content of foods might affect consumers' attention to, and understanding of, the sugars and calorie contents and other information in the Nutrition Facts.

FDA is contemplating requiring the amount of added sugars to be declared in Nutrition Facts under Sugars, using a double indention format because added sugars are a component of Sugars. This new requirement would be the first time that a mandatory nutrient is declared in this way in the Nutrition Facts.

The proposed consumer survey is part of the agency's continuing efforts to enable the public to make informed dietary choices and construct healthful diets by using the Nutrition Facts. It follows up both on a May 23, 2011 FDA notice requesting comments on this proposed consumer survey and on a November 2, 2007 FDA advance notice of proposed rulemaking, which requested comments on a variety of topics related to updating the presentation of nutrients and content of nutrient values on food labels.

In addition the survey will look at removal of the footnote statements, “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs,” and removal of the table in that footnote that lists the Daily Values for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, and dietary fiber based on 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets.

Other changes to the presentation and amount of information provided in the Nutrition Facts, particularly:  A definition for Percent Daily Value such as “The Percent Daily Value is the amount of a nutrient listed above that one serving of this product contributes to the daily diet," and a succinct statement about daily caloric intake and General guidelines for high and low nutrient levels

Also, FDA already seems satisfied that declaration of quantitative weight amounts for all nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, should be required, as recommended in 2003 by the Institute of Medicine.

And anyone interested in commenting on the proposed changes will need to do so by January 30.